Drunk Barrister Sanctioned By Regulator

| General

In mid-January 2023 the Solicitors Regulation Authority dished out a dressing down to a legal professional who occupies the position of the barrister in the form of a sanction in connection with being adjudged to be guilty of criminal offenses surrounding being intoxicated with alcohol whilst in charge of the vehicle during a road accident.  

What Happened In The Case?

The matter drew the attention of the industry regulator after the legal professional entered a guilty plea in the Magistrates court connected with a car accident. During the incident, the legal professional acted as a vehicle driver and mounted the kerb. During the incident, no persons were reported to have sustained any injuries from the vehicle. As a direct result of the incident, the law enforcement authorities decided to take him into custody. They placed him under arrest and enforced charges in connection with the criminal offense of being in charge of a vehicle in the absence of due care and attention. The Magistrates Court which was sitting in the town of Chelmsford in the county of Essex seemingly sought to make an example of the legal profession and handed down an order which prevented him from being in charge of a vehicle for a period of seventy-two weeks. The legal professional appears to have wanted to demonstrate to the esteemed magistrates that he was repenting for his sins by taking the court up on their offer of an undertaking and completing a course related to rehabilitation.  

What Did The Solicitors Regulation Authority Say?

When the legal industry regulator, the Solicitors Regulation Authority examined the evidence which had been submitted to it throughout the case and gave the legal professional enormous credit for holding his hands up, openly communicating that his behavior was not up to the required standards and his guilty plea equated to a violation of the professional principle of maintaining the trust and confidence of the wider general public in the legal industry. The regulator found on the facts of the case that how the legal professional had conducted himself was of a comparatively reduced impact, no damage or harm appears to have been inflicted and suffered by third-party road users and the impact was insignificant. As the event was a one-off incident, albeit the act was carried out intentionally and recklessly. 

 Lessons Learned? 

Legal professionals need to absorb the messages delivered from this case. They need to be of understand that in their lofty position within the profession, industry, and wider society they must maintain public confidence in those charged with and having the role and responsibility to provide services of a legal nature. Legal professionals should be using this recent case as a useable reference point for application to their practice in the profession and should be doing this by remembering that in these circumstances legal regulators such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority will be seeking to make an example of legal professionals in the event of their behavior or conduct falling short of the required standard of competence. Remembering this message and keeping it in the forefront of their mindset would stand such persons in good stead for their future careers and would be a valid disincentive to other concerned parties.    

The Solicitors Regulation Authority makes clear that if the legal professional neglects to communicate or pause before disclosing such a discretion, this will be considered. This will also have a direct impact on the provider of legal services employing the respective legal professional. The SRA will also treat numerous incidents of unprofessional conduct involving the consumption of alcohol. 


#BlakeMorgan #LClyde&CoLLP #CapsticksLLP #Hempsons #KingsleyNapleyLLP #RadcliffesLeBrasseur #BatesWells #CMS #DACBeachcroftLLP #FieldFisher #HerbertSmithFreehills #Russell-CookeLLP #BlackfordsLLP #CharlesRussellSpeechlysLLP #KeoughLLP #MurdochsSolicitors #StepehensonsSolicItorsLLP


[SOURCE 1] Castro, Bianca – Drink Driver rebuked by SRA – Law Society Gazette – 18 January 2018 - Drink drive barrister rebuked by SRA | News | Law Gazette

[SOURCE 2] Solicitors Regulation Authority – Driving with excess alcohol convictions – 25 November 2019 - SRA | Topic guide: Driving with excess alcohol convictions | Solicitors Regulation Authority

[SOURCE 3] Solicitors Regulation Authority – A guide to the application of Principle 1 – 25 November 2019 - SRA | Topic guides: Guide application principle 1 | Solicitors Regulation Authority

[SOURCE 4] Solicitors Regulation Authority – Principle 1 of the SRA Principles SRA | Topic guides: Guide application principle 1 | Solicitors Regulation Authority



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